Helpful Hypocrite?

Monday, February 12, 2018

According to news reports, a California State Assemblywoman highly visible in the #MeToo social media campaign has come under fire for alleged sexual harassment. This is about as shocking to me as hearing that, say, a televangelist has been caught in an act of infidelity. There will always be hypocrites. It also doesn't surprise me that a female politician would eventually come under such scrutiny. Men don't have a monopoly on loutish or foolish behavior, and powerful people often feel like they can get away with things that others can't. In terms of newsworthiness, this would rate to me as another scalp, and potentially quite a valuable one. (That said, I do think that, in part due to generally being physically stronger, and in part for cultural reasons, men are more likely to perpetrate sexual harassment.)

Strangely, an expert quoted by Politico doesn't see it this way, and that might actually be the most interesting part of the story:

Image via Wikipedia.
Jessica Levinson, a professor of law and political ethics at Loyola Law School of Los Angeles -- and the current president of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission -- said that, if proven true, the accusations against Garcia threaten to seriously damage the nationwide movement that has been credited with bringing the issue of sexual harassment into the open.

"Hypocrisy knows no bounds and no partisanship, it crosses all party affiliations,'' she said. "To the extent that these are substantiated claims, there's a picture of Cristina Garcia as a hypocrite in the dictionary."

The stories underscore how "sexual harassment is not OK, period -- regardless of whether it's by a man, or a woman. And frankly, this threatens to set the movement back -- because when you have one of the faces of this movement facing these allegations, that's a real problem." [bold added]
This can undermine the credibility of the movement, but only if Garcia remains unscathed by allegations proved true or she is ruined by false allegations. Both of these possibilities deserve serious thought regardless of the viability of any movement.

In any event, something I noted before bears repeating:
This could be very good or very bad, depending on why this is happening so quickly. It would be a very good thing if, indeed, this is a sign that, culturally, the kind of mistreatment of women the likes of Weinstein specialize in is no longer getting a pass. But consider that some of the outrage is coming from the left, which has been responsible lately for fostering outrages against men, on the premise that, as Cannon puts it so well, "merely being a man [might be] some sort of pre-existing condition." (Oh. And Caucasians. And the wealthy, but I don't really need to bring that up, do I?) Let's not forget that Weinstein is something of a strikeout: white, wealthy, and male.
In other words, this movement is a mixed bag, and to the degree the left is using it to pass improper legislation, it is bad, and a loss of credibility among its bad elements isn't necessarily a bad thing. On the other hand, to the extent that this movement is making sexual harassment socially unacceptable, these allegations offer a valuable lesson. Consider the following:
Unlike many women, he said he never felt physically threatened, and always felt supported by [California Assemblyman Ian] Calderon, his boss. But he said he feared repercussions from an influential assemblywoman who could affect his fledgling communication business. “Who wants to be that guy that Cristina Garcia is going after?” he said. [bold added]
The "he" here was a 25-year-old staffer whom Garcia allegedly cornered and groped after an Assembly social event in 2014. The bolded quote can help many men better understand what the women facing the unwanted attentions of the more powerful go through when having to decide later whether to report such an incident.

-- CAV

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